[Ireland On-Line] Connacht's European odyssey came unstuck in the mud at Sardis Road when a massive battle was not enough to oust the Welsh in this Parker Pen Challenge Cup quarter-final in front of a full house of 8,000.
It was a titanic struggle from start to finish with both defences superb despite the appalling conditions. In the end the Welsh edged it with four penalties from Neil Jenkins.
He got his first after just two minutes and added further penalties after 11 and 22 minutes as they built up an interval lead of 9-3.
Connacht got off the mark after 17 minutes when Eric Elwood steered home a penalty after some superb work going forward.
Jenkins added another penalty after 48 minutes and from there to the end it was the Welsh who were forced to defend in numbers as Connacht tried everything to prise them open.
But Connacht just didn't get any breaks although Elwood reduced the margin after 54 minutes with another penalty and the tie was left on a knife edge when Elwood got another penalty going into the final quarter.
But that was as near as Connacht got and in the end time just ran out on them at the end of what has been a superb campaign.
Pontypridd: B. Davey; G. Wyatt, S. James, C. Sweeney, E. Lewis; N. Jenkins, P. John; G. Jenkins, M. Davies, D. Bell; B. Cockbain, R. Sidoli; R. Parks, G. Lewis, W. O'Connor.
Replacements: M. Owen for Lewis,57 mins.
Connacht: M. McHugh; G. Duffy, D. Yapp, S. Moore (capt.), W. Munn; E. Elwood, E. Reddan; R. McCormack, J. Flannery, P. Bracken; D. Browne, R. Frost; C. Rigney, J. O'Sullivan, J. O'Connor.
Replacements: M. Uijs for Flannery, 62 mins; D. McFarland for Bracken, 62 mins; C. Keane for Reddan, 62 mins; E. Peters for O'Sullivan, 66 mins; M. Swift for Rigney, 66 mins.
Referee: C. White (England).